Chapter Twelve - The Angel from Above

Summary: I thought of Maron and decided, what would she be like if the story was more mature? Not in that way you pervs, but what if she was less magical girl-ish. She still has magical powers, but she's a little older, and she uses her God-given supernatural strength, speed, and agility to fight instead (you know, the one that lets her jump on rooftops and stuff). Oh, and Finn is not evil here. I just can't stand the thought of cute little Finn having to be bad (sob). So... on with the story and I hope you enjoy. Happy readings!

Ratings: T (just in case)

Pairings: MaronxChiaki, JeannexSinbad, FinnxAccess

Disclaimer: I own neither Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne nor its characters. However, anyone who dares to take this story, word for word, as their own will have to answer to Finn and Access personally. And they have fangs. Just remember- you have been warned.

Last note: to change character perspective, I had to put their names, because this site's not letting me just put the dash on its own. Sorry for any inconvenience it may cause.


previously in chapter eleven...

Jeanne was surrounded.

Before he could run to help her, he saw it - her smile.

Confident, the kaitou grinned in triumph, her hands spreading to reveal three white pins.

And just as the three remaining demons charged at her, she twirled, hitting each one in the center of their chest. And as they exploded and became captured into white chess pieces, she faced him again, hair flying and with the same brilliant smile on her face. And Chiaki felt as if the breath had left his body.

It was like she was an angel.

and now... on with the story!

It took a second for him to break out of his stupor, but when he did, all he could do was smile.

The little minx. She had planned to be surrounded.

Sinbad looked at the girl in awe as she off-handily caught the three falling pieces. She did it without taking her eyes off his. And her expression - triumphant, happy, exhilarated, he could go on. She really had enjoyed that - besting them all on her own, under her own power.

Kami, she was beautiful.

"Are you just going to stand there like an idiot?" she asked him, her voice breaking through his trance. But she didn't sound upset. In fact, she was still smiling, although she had toned it down a bit now that the adrenaline seemed to be wearing off.

He bent down to retrieve the other two chess pieces before glancing around for the sixth and last one from the start of the attack. Finding that one and picking it up, he realized that almost all of the pins in his hand were white. And, of course, the three in Jeanne's hand were white too. Despite his confident declaration in the beginning of the fight, it looked like she had really been the one who did all the work. He'd only gotten that one in the beginning.

The sight of the two white pawns and one black one brought a smile to his face, though. It made sense that she'd be so much better at this because of all her experience. And he didn't mind the difference in their abilities.

Except as an excuse to chase after her, that is.

Jeanne, meanwhile, was contemplating the attack.

She knew that the ambush now wasn't what Sinbad had meant when he said Kami knew she'd be needing help, but that the fact that the demons had actively attacked in a group was. Kami wouldn't have sent him for just one minor event like that, unless he was severely doubting her skill. That probably meant that the increase in dangerous incidents that she'd been noticing were actually not a coincidence.

She moved the chess pieces that she caught around in her hand, debating with herself whether or not she should confront the other kaitou about her suspicions. But then again, she still didn't know him that well, and considering the fact that he hadn't mentioned his reasons for appearing until now, he might be less than forthcoming even if she asked him directly.

"Well, it looks like that's the end of the excitement for the night." Sinbad said, his voice breaking through her thoughts.

"It's time for me to head home."

He waved at her and winked, the smile on his lips both playful and secretive.

"Good night, Jeanne."

Absentmindedly, trying to get her thoughts back on track, she raised her hand as well.

"Good night, Sinbad."

It wasn't until after he had left that she realized that he had taken her chess pieces with him.

-the next day-

She couldn't blame him. Really. It was her fault for not asking for them back after he picked them up, having been too preoccupied with her own thoughts.

"Good morning, Chiaki."

"Maron." The boy turned to look at her, his surprise that she had willingly approached him at school showing on his face. "Good morning."

She decided that it was best to be direct, and skipped the rest of the formalities.

"Can I have them back?"

"Huh?"

Of course, only an idiot would buy that clueless look that he gave her.

"My stuff from yesterday. You accidentally took them home with you."

"Oh, that."

"Yes. Can I have them back?"

"Sure."

-Chiaki-

He shrugged and began to reach into his bag, before an idea hit him. The conversation with Jeanne last night had made him want to know more about her, and so when he had picked up the chess pieces after the fight, it had seemed the logical thing to pocket them and make off before she realized what he had done. How he was going to use them to his advantage, he hadn't known. Until right now. He could return them right now – after all, it had gotten her to speak to him when she normally wouldn't have, but both of them would enjoy it more in the long run if he didn't. Not that she was enjoying herself right now, but she would. Soon. At least, he hoped so.

He turned back around to face Maron, who was looking at him in a half-expectant, half-impatient look on her face.

"Sorry, I forgot. I left them at home. I didn't want them to get lost or taken by accident. That wouldn't have been very smart, don't you think?"

He smiled at her irritated look and held up his hands.

"No worries. I'll just put them into your mailbox for when you get home. You have gymnastics practice today, right? I don't have anything after this, so I'll do that after classes are over."

Maron looked a bit skeptical, but considering that she had no other option except to trust him, she conceded.

"Alright. But please make sure that you remember."

Chiaki grinned.

"Of course. There's no way I could forget."

-later that day-

He tapped the object against his chin, thinking, as he stared at the metal box. The numbers labeling it as a pair to her apartment looked so plain and unassuming, staring back at him from the front with bold block lettering. But he knew that it was just its appearance as a mailbox. That in reality what he was about to do could go one of two ways, and would either help or hinder his relationship with Kusakabe Maron.

He stared at the box for a moment longer before sliding his 'mail' into it. Thinking about it was pointless. He'd already promised her, so he couldn't back down. Besides, the only way he'd know for sure about her reaction was to do it and then wait and see.

-Maron-

She was following her usual routine and arrived home after gymnastics practice (it was still weird that Chiaki knew her schedule so well). That was when she noticed something strange - there was a letter sticking out of her mailbox. Heart thumping in a way that she hadn't felt it before, Maron slowly approached the metal box, believing that, at any moment, she'd find out that it was a mirage, a trick of her mind, and see it disappear. But no. Her hand, tentatively, touched it. Her fingers, slowly, drew it out. And as she turned it over, she saw…

A message from Chiaki?

Confused, Maron turned the envelope over again. Why would he be sending her mail? He lived right next door to her. He said that he would return the chess pieces, but there was no need for him to write her a note to go with it.

She set down her bag and opened the envelope. Inside was a piece of paper. She unfolded it.

It was a drawing of a chess board, with some pieces filled in. There were a lot more white pieces than black, both sides standing in their respective places on the board. Neither of the sides, however, were complete. Below it, Chiaki had written:

'You may have the lead, but I'll soon even the odds. Do you accept the challenge?'

and below it, he'd written an additional:

'P.S. I'll hold the pieces from last night hostage until one of us wins.'

Maron looked at the words, then back at the picture. She looked at the words again. Then the picture. The picture with 2 little black chess pieces, compared 9 of hers. And she couldn't help it. She laughed.

She laughed until she was holding her sides, one hand over her mouth and tears budding in her eyes.

When she finally calmed down, clearing her throat (she probably looked like an idiot to any passerby), Maron looked at the drawing again and smiled. Was this his way of saying he didn't want their relationship to change? That he was fine with competing against her if she wanted to do it herself? That he wouldn't leave her on her own? She smiled, although it was a bit sad from the memories it brought up.

Yeah, Maron thought, picking up her bag and heading to her floor.

Chiaki wasn't that bad after all. Maybe she'll give him a chance.